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Alternating quarterbacks is ploy that paid off for Simon Kenton football team this season

The NKyTribune will be providing focused coverage of NKY high school football throughout the season, thanks to support from St. Elizabeth Healthcare Sports Medicine. See all of our pre-season features on each of NKY’s 21 high school football teams and follow our coverage, including roundups each week at Northern Kentucky High School Football.

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Having two players share the quarterback position is something Simon Kenton football coach Jeff Marksberry had never done before this season. One look at the Pioneers’ statistics will tell you the experiment has paid off.


Matt Shearer


Cam Racke

Senior veteran Cam Racke and junior newcomer Matt Shearer have switched off at quarterback in each of the team’s 12 games and they’ve passed for a combined total of 2,778 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Racke is the team-leader with 1,548 passing yards and 24 touchdowns. Shearer has provided 1,230 yards and 12 TDs.

“It’s kind of a very neat thing to be a part of because both of them are so unselfish and just want to win,” Marksberry said. “And I think with Matt being a junior it’s going to pay big dividends for us next year.”

Simon Kenton (11-1) is averaging 232 yards passing and 207 yards rushing going into Friday’s rematch with Lexington Lafayette (11-1) in the regional finals of the Class 6A playoffs. Last year, the two teams met in the state semifinals and Lafayette defeated Simon Kenton, 42-28, to pull the plug on the Pioneers’ perfect season.

Lafayette has one of the state’s top senior quarterbacks in Walker Wood, a University of Kentucky recruit. He has 2,439 yards passing and 1,079 yards rushing this season.

“He makes them go,” Marksberry said of Wood. “He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands. If he drops back to throw and doesn’t see anything he likes, he finds a seam (in the defense) and takes off.”

Racke will be Simon Kenton’s starting quarterback in Friday’s game, as he has been all year. When Shearer comes in, he’ll often shift to running back or slot back to add another weapon to the Pioneers’ offense. Racke has rushed for 664 yards and 11 touchdowns playing multiple positions.

st-e-football-plug-768x249“We can hand the ball off to Cam and he can still throw it once we hand the ball off to him,” Marksberry said. “We can do all kinds of different things with him (because) he’s such a good athlete.”

Shearer’s strong arm is the reason the Simon Kenton coaching staff wants him on the field. His ability to accurately throw long passes to receivers racing down the field stretches the defense vertically.

“He’s our shot-taker,” Marksberry said. “He’ll throw the ball down the field and try to go over the top (of the defense). Cam will do that too at times, but Matt just has a cannon.”

Racke threw for more than 1,800 yards in each of the last two seasons when he didn’t have to share the quarterback position. He has already received one NCAA Division I scholarship offer to play quarterback for Wofford University in South Carolina. He was willing to split time at quarterback with Shearer this season even though he’s still being evaluated by other college recruiters.

“He reacted just like anybody would want him to,” Marksberry said. “He was very unselfish about it. He never complained about it at all. They’re actually great friends off the field.”

Friday’s football playoff games

Kentucky Country Day (10-2) at Beechwood (11-1), 7:30 p.m.
Holy Cross (9-3) at Newport Central Catholic (7-5), 7 p.m.
Covington Catholic (9-3) at Louisville Fern Creek (10-2), 7:30 p.m.
Ryle (12-0) at Scott County (10-2), 7:30 p.m.
Simon Kenton (11-1) at Lexington Lafayette (11-1), 7:30 p.m.

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